KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday December 8, 2017 – A sum of J$200 million (US$1.6 million) has been approved by Cabinet as compensation to aggrieved persons who were affected by the operations of the security forces in West Kingston in May 2010.
Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck, who made the disclosure, said the agreed figure was put forward by a Compensation Committee, which was established to investigate all claims brought by aggrieved persons and to determine the compensation payable to injured persons and to the personal representatives of deceased persons in respect of the events of May 2010.
The operations, which were undertaken to capture the fugitive, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, resulted in the death of 73 civilians and a soldier, while other persons were detained and properties damaged and destroyed.
Financial compensation for persons wronged by the State was one of the recommendations of the West Kingston Commission of Inquiry, which was appointed to investigate the operations.
Another recommendation was that there be a formal apology by the State. Prime Minister Andrew Holness delivered that apology in a statement in the House of Representatives during Wednesday’s sitting.
Minister Chuck informed that the implementation of the recommendations of the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry is at varying stages of completion, with some fully completed and others at an advanced stage of completion.
“A few of the recommendations will require significant work and resources, but the Government is not short on will to honour its commitment to implement all of the recommendations,” he said.
In keeping with the Commission’s recommendations as part of the healing process, the Justice Minister said the Government has continued its counselling programme for residents, which commenced in the immediate aftermath of the event.
Over the last five years, the Victim Services Division of the Justice Ministry counselled 3,125 persons – both new and repeat clients; and a satellite counselling facility, the West Kingston Counselling Centre, was established.
Chuck noted that residents of West Kingston were also assisted by the Guidance Counselling Unit of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; the Child Development Agency (CDA); Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP); volunteers of the associations of psychologists and psychiatrists, and the University of the West Indies.
“The Ministry has also put in place additional resources to assist the affected communities in the area of restorative justice. Restorative Justice Centres were established in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town. Since then, 24 conferences involving 183 individuals – both victims and offenders – have been held at the two centres,” he said.